About 3 weeks ago I got a mail from a long lost school mate, asking if I’d like to be a part of a travel n food show. Its with Carol Selva Rajah a celebrated Australian Celebrity Chef and one of the Australian master chef finalists, he said. I was like sure, why not … anything for food. Now I must be really lucky, I blindly said yes, without really knowing the details, All I was told, is that they’d like me to do a little bit of Fusion Cooking. The day after that 8:30 pm sharp, they were at my door – The celebrity chef’s with their filming team. Its only then I realized how big this was, and how fortunate I was to have Beau Cook and Carol Selve Rajah in my house, let alone cooking for them !! They were shooting for this new series – Eat With Your Eyes, that will be out early in 2013. They had toured all over India and covered the food and culture and were now in Mumbai. After filming the popular street food, they were in my house, filming Beau n me, in my kitchen – Cooking ! I cannot even begin to tell you how that felt. I was nervous as hell initially – ya ! first time on camera : it can be pretty unnerving believe you me, plus an amateur home cook, cooking for pros. But it went off so smoothly. It was like one big house party. I didn’t realise where the time slipped by from the moment they entered that door. It was so much fun, just being around them, talking about food, sharing stories and experiences. It was the DP’S (camera man’s) birthday, so we cut a cake, ate, drank, and some part of me wished the night would never end. But as all good thing do, this had too, and thankfully just before they left I remembered to pull my camera out and get a picture of us.
Its only after they left, that I got to see my phone, n realised I had a over dozen messages. Half the girls of the city were envious and would give an arm n a leg to be in my place. Hahahaha … yes it was because of the very talented, extremely kind and sweet, not to mention cute as ever : Beau Cook. Turns out, MasterChef is very popular here, and Beau very famous. So this picture is for you ladies … eat your hearts out … lol :-p
Cherry on the pie is … A little interview with him for you
Me : Five things in your fridge right now ?
Beau : Lamb, chillies, lots of different cheese, lots of herbs and some left over bolognaise sauce
Me : Most memorable Master Chef experience ?
Beau : Going to Italy!! It was amazing to spend two and a half weeks on a food tour with my new MC family.
Me : Most challenging ingredient to cook with ? Why ?
Beau : Chocolate! Its something I never really cook with.. But I think I have my head around the basics now.
Me : Tell a story about your biggest cooking disaster that you turned around into a success. How did you do it?
Beau :I faced an elimination pressure test which happened to be a complex desert (not my strong point!) but somehow got through and pulled off an awesome desert I just followed the recipe at every point and worked clean and efficient (pays to be clean haha!)
Me : Your dream dinner location? What one dish would you bring to the table?
Beau : It would have to be on a quiet beach in north Queensland, Australia.. And I would serve some delicious bbq prawns and a local wine or beer
Me : One cooking tip you’d love to share with your fans.
Beau : The key to good cooking is balance!! Always taste during cooking and make sure you have a good balance between sweet, sour, salty and spice
Me : Your most favourite thing to cook/make
Beau : Anything on the BBQ. Its an Aussie favourite and you can get pretty creative with it as well.
Carol Selva Rajah, is an award winning author of eleven cookbooks on South East Asian cooking. She has had international success as the first Australian woman invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York, and subsequently on the QE11. She has worked as celebrity chef in hotels in major cities around the world and lectures to students and to interested cooking students and historians. Over the years, Carol has contributed to a diverse range of publications including the Australian Gourmet Traveler. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living Magazine and Kitchen Culture Food and Travel, Singapore. In 2001, she won the coveted Jaguar Gourmet Traveler Award for excellence in Gastronomic Travel for “Day trips to Asia” in Cabramatta which have become a template for other food tours today. Carol divides her time between Malaysia, Los Angeles, California and Sydney writing, teaching and pairing spicy Asian food with beer. She conducts yearly lectures to culinary historians in the US and is in the process of doing a couple of television shows. Carol, was very sweet, warm and I felt comfortable around her instantly. She’s a lady of great experience and yet so humble. She was too kind to give me an autographed copy of her book “Malaysian Cooking” from which I made Sambal Oelek today. The sauce was so good and it took no time at all to prepare it. Its so versatile, that you could make Prawns, Fish anything you like in it. Its great even on its own as a dip. I had some chicken so I just marinated it for a couple of hours in it, and made it a bit saucy-curry style to have it with steamed rice. Sambals are popular in Malayaisa, Indonesia, Singapore, Phillipines, Sri Lanka … Its a paste made from red chillis. I remember I fell in love with it last year, when our family went on one of our many Phuket Holidays. I bought back a jar from there, but after making this I would be silly if I ever bought one again.
24 Red Chillis
2 onions ,sliced
10 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
2 teaspoons of soft/shaved palm sugar
200 ml rice vinegar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
Just grind all these ingredients together to form a smooth paste. In a sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook for 5 mintues till the water from the onions evaporates and the sauce reduces a bit. You can cool the sauce and store it in the fridge . Great for marinades and dips.
Chicken Sambal Oelek
Take one whole chicke, jointed and cut into pieces, Make gashes all over so that the sauce seeps deep into the meat. Take a few tablespoons of the sauce and rub it in the chicken and let it marinate about 2 hours.Take some oil in a non stick pan, and stir fry the chicken, making sure it gets colour on all sides. Now pour some more of the sauce , mix well and cover with lid. Let the chicken simmer for about 20 mins or till its done. Now lift the lid and check for seasoning. Add some light soy sauce and a pinch of salt if required. Serve with steamed rice.
This is a spicy dish